Sheila Holland, née Sheila Ann Mary Coates (b. 1937 in Dagenham, Essex, England – d. in Isle of Man) was best-known as the pseudonym Charlotte Lamb, a prolific and bestselling romantic novelist. She also signed her novels as her married and maiden names: Sheila Holland and Sheila Coates, and under the pseudonyms Sheila Lancaster, Victoria Wolf and Laura Hardy.
She was married to Richard Holland and they had five children, including a set of twins: - Michael Holland, Sarah Holland, Jane Holland, Charlotte Holland and David Holland.
Born Sheila Ann Mary Coates in 1937 at Dagenham, Essex, England. As a child, she was moved from relative to relative to escape the bombings of World War II.
She attended the Ursuline Convent for Girls, worked as a typist at the Bank of England and then as a junior researcher for the BBC at Broadcasting House.
In 1959, she married Richard Holland, then a Fleet Street journalist, later a sub-editor of The Times and a classical biographer. Her husband prompted her to begin writing in the early seventies.
She died suddenly on in her baronial-style home 'Crogga' on the Isle of Man. She had been living on the island as a tax exile since 1977 with her husband and four of her five children.
A voracious reader, she wrote her first book in three days with three children underfoot. In between raising her five children, she wrote many more novels.
She began her writing career as her married name Sheila Holland and as her maiden name Sheila Coates. In 1973 she signed Follow a Stranger as her most famous pseudonym: Charlotte Lamb, but later she used several other pseudonyms, among them Sheila Lancaster, Victoria Woolf and Laura Hardy.
Her first historical and romantic novels were published by Robert Hale and serialised in Woman's Weekly Digest. By the late seventies, she was an established and successful author, publishing as many as twelve novels a year with Mills and Boon. That annual number rose over the next few years; by the late nineties, she had published over 160 novels, most of them romances, others historical novels and romantic thrillers, achieving over 200 million sales worldwide. During the course of her career, she wrote for a variety of different international publishers including: Penguin, Collins, Fontana, Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Headline and Simon & Schuster.
Known for her swiftness, literary style and versatility, Sheila Holland was able to write in several different genres - hence her plethora of pseudonyms as well as publishers. She typically wrote a minimum of two thousand words per day, working from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. While she once finished a full-length novel in four days, she herself pegged her average speed at two weeks to complete a full novel.
She was a true revolutionary in the field of romance writing. One of the first writers to explore the boundaries of sexual desire, her novels often reflected the forefront of the "sexual revolution" of the 1970s. Her books touched on then-taboo subjects such as child abuse and rape, and she created sexually confident -even dominant- heroines. She was also one of the first to create a modern romantic heroine: independent, imperfect, and perfectly capable of initiating a sexual or romantic relationship.
Her last novel, a romantic thriller published posthumously with Hodder & Stoughton, was entitled The Angel of Death.